Soulful Recipes for Stressful Times

Soulful Recipes for Stressful Times

Healthy Snacks for Stressful Times

Soulful Recipes to Nourish your Body and Mind

“Your Body Is Your Temple.

Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in”. 

– B. K. S. Iyengar



Hi! I’m Liz.  In this Guest Post I take a deeper look at how high sugar snacks impact the brain and show you some easy, healthy homemade snacks


More than ever our body and mind asks us for a little extra care. It’s not only how and what we eat, it is also about our mindset and mental health.


Why do I Comfort-Eat?

Have you ever found yourself starring inside the fridge, looking for food, eating any convenient snack you can find?  I for myself can assure you that it happened to me many times before.


But what is it that leads us to “comfort-feeling-eating”?


Deep within we’re longing for something that fills us, that soothes the pain or calms the mind.


Especially in times when we find ourselves home alone, without social contacts, some of us lost their jobs … our longing for something that replaces the missing pieces is stronger than ever


The sweetness of being all by myself I feel empty – I fill it up with food 


I think we all know the scene from “Bridged Jones’ Diary”; Shattered and emotionally overwhelmed on the sofa, crying, hugging a jar of ice cream, singing the pain out loud to the most emotional songs. I guess that’s how most of us feel at some point these days or some may already have repeated this scene in perfection. And I totally feel you as some days I don’t feel different at all. 


But why not replace the sugar bomb with a healthy energy boost?


Our brain cries for a reward and the biggest reward for our brain is: Sugar. 


Instead of nurturing the body with nutritious food, we prefer comfort-food that is convenient, ready to eat and that makes us feel better for a little while. 


Unfortunately the most convenient comfort-foods are often those with the highest amount of sugar and not nutritious at all. It is also proven that sugar has high impacts on inflammatory reactions in the body; and this is what we don’t need at all. 


Dopamine  – Messenger of your nervous system 

There are days when we feel low and the routine of staying home challenges us. We need an extra boost of Dopamine and some creativity to keep the body and mind healthy and attuned.


Sugar has a high impact on the brain and leads to Dopamine production in the body. Dopamine functions as a hormone and neurotransmitter at the same time. As a neurotransmitter the nervous system uses it to communicate between the nerve cells.


It affects the brain at the reward system which is responsible for feelings, emotions and our behaviour towards pleasurable stimuli such as shopping, food, sex, alcohol, drugs, etc. 


When we activate the reward system it leads to distraction from unpleasant feelings and painful emotions.


Do you remember the last time you fell in love: you feel excited, more than alive and over enthusiastic. Your brain is in constant reward mode and this hormone cocktail prevents you from negative emotions, conflicts, etc.


Once its high level drops the feeling of being high above everything starts to disappear, you start to see your partner with different eyes and without the rose-colored glasses. The same happens when your child has too much sugar before bedtime. The nervous system is highly activated and ready to conquer the world.



When your Dopamine level is low you may feel:

  • Reduced ability to feel pleasure
  • Sugar and carbohydrate cravings
  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Feeling bored, apathetic, depressed
  • Low drive and motivation
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Low libido



Foods naturally high in tyrosine an amino acid that is needed to produce Dopamine:

Apple Strawberries Blueberries Watermelon Raw, Dark Chocolate  Almonds Eggs  Beetroot  Chia Seeds Green vegetables  Dates  Banana Walnuts  Pineapple

Home-Made Recipes for Healthy Snacks & Treats

If you’re craving something sweet,  let’s get creative together with a whole bunch of delicious, nutritious foods!

Put on your favourite playlist, I can highly recommend Francie’s playlist or you can also tune into mine, put your hair up to a bun and let’s get ready 🙂

1. Peanut Butter Energy Balls 


1 cup crunchy peanut butter (unsweetened) 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats 2 tbsp shredded Coconut  1 tbsp Chia seeds 1 tbsp honey  1/4 cup dark chocolate chips  1 tsp vanilla extract 


  1. Mix all ingredients together. It should be a well mixed, sticky mass.
  2. Let it sit for at least 30 min in the fridge.
  3. Mix again and form little round balls. 
  4. Store them in the fridge in a closed jar or box. 

2. Chocolate Cashew Energy Balls 


Filling 8 pitted Medjool dates (or 16 small dates) 1 cup unsalted cashews  1/2 cup unsalted pistachios  1 tablespoon raw cacao powder or dark chocolate  1 teaspoon cinnamon 


Coating  1 tsp coconut oil  100g dark chocolate  1/2 cup crushed pistachios


  1. Mix all ingredients for the filling in a food processor. It is a very sticky mass that you might have to replace the mass from time to time in the food processor. 
  2. Mix until you have a mass with some crunchy nut pieces.
  3. Form into balls and place them at least 30 min in the fridge. (If the mass is too sticky you can place it in the fridge first and form the balls after) 


  1. For the filling, melt the chocolate and stir in the coconut oil.
  2. Dip the cold energy balls into the coating and sprinkle with crushed pistachios.


All energy balls are storable in the fridge for up to one week. 


3. Coconut Chia Pudding with Mango Purée 


2 tbsp Chia Seeds 2 tbsp Shredded Coconut  150 ml Coconut Milk  75 ml Almond Milk (you can replace it with any of your preferred type of milk)  1/2 – 1 tbsp Coconut Sugar ( or any other sweetener) 1 tsp Cinnamon  1 tsp Vanilla Extract 


1 ripe Mango



Chia Pudding

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Make sure the chia seeds doesn’t stick together or stick on the ground  Cover the bowl and place it for at least 2 hours in the fridge. (Best over night but not necessary)


For some extra sparkle you can add some matcha 😉


Mango Purée 

  1. Cut the Mango in half 
  2. Use the following trick to get out the flesh the easiest way 🙂 
  3. In a food processor mix the flesh until it is a smooth purée.
  4. Place the purée in the fridge 
  5. Before serving top the Chia Pudding with Mango Purée. Voila! 


Coconut Chia Pudding is storable in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. 

  1. Mix until you have a mass with some crunchy nut pieces.
  2. Form into balls and place them at least 30 min in the fridge. (If the mass is too sticky you can place it in the fridge first and form the balls after) 


  1. For the filling, melt the chocolate and stir in the coconut oil.
  2. Dip the cold energy balls into the coating and sprinkle with crushed pistachios.


All energy balls are storable in the fridge for up to one week. 


4. Sweet & Salty Quinoa

1 cup white Quinoa  1/2 cup Coconut Milk  1 1/2 cups Almond Milk (or any other)  1/2 – 1 Banana  4 chopped Dates  1 tsp Cinnamon  1/2 tsp Nutmeg  1 pinch of Salt 


  1. Rinse Quinoa with cold water. 
  2. In a pot mix all the ingredients and stir until simmer. Cut Banana in slices and add to the Quinoa/Milk mix.
  3. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Stir from time to time.
  4. Turn off the heat and let it sit for a little while.
  5. Place Quinoa in a bowl. 
  6. Serve either hot or cold.


Add any topping you like. I love Mango-Passion Fruit Purée on top.



5. Watermelon Pineapple Salad 

Watermelon  Pineapple  Fresh Peppermint 


  1. Cut watermelon and Pineapple in cubes.
  2. Chop Mint leaves.
  3. Mix in a bowl and enjoy 🙂


6. Ginger Turmeric Immune Boost


1-2 Organic Ginger Root  1 tsp ground or fresh Turmeric  4 Peppercorns  1-2 tsp Honey  1/2 – 1 Lime  1,5 liter Water 


  1. Cut Ginger in slices and place in a pot.
  2. Add Water, Peppercorns and Turmeric and cook for at least 15 min.
  3. Take the pot from the oven and add Lime and Honey.
  4. If it’s too spicy you can add water or a little bit more honey.


Pepper is used to activate Curcuma in Turmeric. 🙂 It has anti inflammatory and antioxidant effects. 

7. Beetroot-Apple Smoothie


1/2 Beetroot 1 Apple  1 Carrot 1-2 cups Coconut water or normal water  1 tbsp Lime Juice 

  1. Mix all ingredients in a mixer. 
  2. Enjoy! 🙂 


If you like it spicy you can add a little piece of fresh Ginger.   

re honey.


Pepper is used to activate Curcuma in Turmeric. 🙂 It has anti inflammatory and antioxidant effects. 

Hope you enjoy these delightful recipes!

Sending you so much love.




Thanks for reading. 

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***What’s your favourite healthy recipe from this post?***

We LOVE Hearing from You.Let us know!


Liz Topkaya

Guest Blogger, @Liztopkaya

How to Choose a Yoga Teacher Training: Top 10 Tips for Consideration

How to Choose a Yoga Teacher Training: Top 10 Tips for Consideration

How to Choose a Yoga Teacher Training:

Top 10 Tips to Keep in Mind

by Margit Selsjord


After almost 10 years of practicing yoga I finally felt brave enough to start looking for my first teacher training, and as a person who dreaded the idea of talking or teaching in front of people, it felt like the scariest thing ever.
But after finishing my first Yoga teacher training I asked myself why i hadn’t done it earlier?
Overcoming a fear is so thrilling and liberating, and the fear can be hiding a passion you had no idea about before facing it.
After the first training I completed, I started teaching free classes at my work place, and had a enthusiastic group showing up every week, most of them where new to yoga, and I was new to teaching, but together we grew more confident and brave.
I quickly signed up for my next teacher training, this time with my favourite yoga school – Pure Flow Yoga, and I feel proud to have been a part of the first training held by Francie Fishman and Atira Tan in Thailand.
In the list below i will share 10 important aspects when choosing and following trough with a YTT, things is wish I knew, what I’ve learned, and other experiences that i hope you will find helpful.


1. Check in with yourself/reflect/meditate

My first tip is to really check in and be real with what you want from a teacher training.
If something is holding you back from taking the plunge, it can be a good idea to meditate, find some stillness and reflect on these thoughts and feelings.
For me it was the fear of not being good enough, worthy or experienced enough to be a teacher, so then i had to investigate within where this fear came from, and if it had any validity in this moment and decision.
When something feels scary it might be because it is important.

2. Find your WHY

The Why is what personally drives you in life, and it also means being clear about your reasons to deepen your yoga practice, trough a Ytt or maybe start teaching.
What is it about yoga that is important to you, or what is it you want to contribute with in this world. 
Why do you want to do this?
Ask yourself this as many times you need.
Ask this and wait for an answer, write it down and revisit it a few times, then state it out loud. 
Finding your Why will help you keep up the motivation when in doubt or when having a rough day during an intense teacher training, helping to bring you closer to the core of your purpose.

3. Style/teacher

When i choose my first YTT I choose an Ashtanga Vinyasa training in Oslo, Norway.
I didn’t exclusively practice Ashtanga at this time, but was drawn to this style because of the thorough and structured style and sequence.
The teacher leading the course was very highly recommended due to her extensive background and experience. I had attended a few of her classes and knew I liked her personality and style.
This is important, because you need to trust and respect the person who is in charge. So testing out the teacher or knowing the school is a something i recommend.
The style of yoga you choose is often based on what you prefer to practice, but it can also be a style you want to learn, choosing the latter will affect how challenging the training will be, depending on having to learn a whole new style or just continue in the same style as you already practice.


4. Form, length, intensity

Thera are a few forms and ways a teacher training is conducted. The most well known type is the 1-month 200 hour intensive training.
This has become very popular, giving the students a certificate and diploma in as short of a time as possible.
What many forget to consider is that you will never become an experienced teacher in 30 days or so.
In fact many seasoned yoga teachers often attend teacher trainings on a yearly basis to get fresh inspiration and new input and knowledge.
There are no short cuts to deep and hard learned experience, it can take years and decades to become a truly good teacher. The good thing about a 1-month YTT is that it throws you in the deep end, and gives you a great toolkit to start your teaching, or simply deepening a practice.
My first YTT was a 4.5 month long part-time training adding up to 200 hours. This was great for me since i at the time had a full-time job. We met up every other weekend for two full days of workshops and practice, and we where expected to practice as much as we could outside the training. On top of this we had homework and wrote 6-7 essays about yoga philosophy.
If you have family, obligations or work and there is no free time to take 1 month away from everyday life, this form of training is highly recommended.
The downsides is that you get less space to concentrate on just the training, and it takes more effort to get back in. Also the classes are often on the weekends -which with a full time job- normally is for relaxation, rest and social meet ups, so you might end up feeling a bit depleted in these areas.

5. Reality check – Logistics of taking a month off

Now that you have become more clear about how, why, where and with whom, it is time to sit down and check out your finances, ask the boss for time off from work, and talk to you family and partner about what you want to do, so that you get the support and freedom you need to make it happen. 
Many teacher trainings offer an early bird discount if you can commit a few months in advance, which lets you save some money. 
After you have secured your YTT spot, the studio/school will most likely send you an welcome email with information about what you can expect and what to prepare/read etc.
If you don’t receive this kind of info, don’t be shy to write them first and ask.
Start researching the place/space for the training so that you are mentally prepared, letting them know dietary any preferences, book a flight, hotels, get that extra pair of leggings and get excited!


6. Prepare and read

One or two months before the training starts it is a good idea to start deepening your own yoga and meditation practice so that your body and mind is ready for the intense training, while getting enough sleep and food.
There will be so much going on at the training, so the more you can read and cram beforehand, the less you have to spent your precious free time at the training.
There is an extensive reading curriculum prepared for you to finish before the exam, so getting a head start is recommended. 
Buy a journal and start writing.

7. How to get through successfully

Before the training starts. write yourself a motivational letter, with why you are doing this, what makes you amazing, and how you can make the world a better place by just being you, and keep this letter for those hard to get out of bed days.
There will be lots of emotional and physical ups and downs during a training, and I can almost guarantee tears, but also lots of laughter and fun.
So prepare yourself to be pushed out of your comfort zone, and let go of the idea that you are in control.
There are many uncontrollable elements that can happen as a part of a training such as group dynamics, weather, female cycle, upset stomach, sleep deprivation and monkeys (yes really, at Pure flow yoga, monkeys happen, and they will steal your attention, and bananas!).
The trick is to meet each challenging situation seeing it as a teacher, lesson or friend, and ask yourself what is it within you that makes it hard?
These lessons can be the most powerful teachings you are left with after a training.

8. Overcoming nerves and expectations

No matter how experienced you are or how many trainings you have done, there will be pressure or nerves surfacing at some point or many during the training. 
In my experience this can be caused not just by you, but also by the group you are spending your days with.  This is almost unavoidable when being this close and sharing space and practices together.
When, and if you feel contagious nerves or pressure from the group members, try to get some space and shield yourself until you have calmed down.
Going for a walk, swim, being alone, dancing in your bungalow or talking to loved ones can help you get back to yourself, don’t forget there is a world outside your yoga training bubble.
Read your motivation letter, and remember who you are!

9. Preparing for exams

When the last week is arriving, the pressure will be on. You might be expected to teach a small group, half a class, know the names of poses/asana and basic philosophy and history. This varies greatly from training to training. 
My tip here is to re-read all your own notes a few times, underline the core of the lessons. Then focus on the teaching skills, practice projecting your voice, and ask as many questions as you can.
Remember what your WHY is, and be mindful about what you came here for, and what you want to take back with you.
Find a way to have fun, this way you will remember more of what you learned, and your love for yoga will shine trough. 
On the exam day, take some time to meditate before it all starts, have your white clothes ready(some yoga schools uses white garments for opening- and closing ceremonies).
Stay with your breath and trust that you know much more than you think.
Then take the photos with the teachers, co-students, celebrate, eat a great meal, have a dance party, and call home to let them know you did it!

10. What to do after:  Integration

First you might need a break, taking a teacher training savasana so that the heart/body/mind can soak up and integrate all the goodies you have learned.
Then revisit your why and see if this have changed, or developed.
You might have gone from thinking you will never teach, to being super excited about the thought of teaching. If so, get in touch with studios that you like, and ask if  they need a fresh teacher.
Often the way to go is to teach for free or by donation until you feel confident, and comfortable with the teacher role.
Patience is the key.
Look for interesting spaces you can rent cheaply or use for free, look for places where you can volunteer, or a spot in a park near by. Make a public account on a social media, make a mailing list, or the old school way of hanging up posters in the area where you want to teach.
I hope this helps you to find and complete your perfect YTT!
As always, we LOVE hearing from you. Please let us know below:
Which tip you found most valuable?
Do you have any other tips?

Upcoming Events

Love & Inspirations

Margit started her yoga journey over 10 years ago in Norway when she was looking for a way to befriend her anxiety and depression. She quickly noticed how a regular yoga and meditation practice improved her life quality tremendously, and want to pass on the knowledge that have helped her in such a profound way.
Margit`s mission as a yoga teacher is to inspire people to live from the heart; being courageous, honest, vulnerable and compassionate, and to discover how powerful meditation and yoga practices can be, and to experience how a steady practice can reduce suffering and bring more lightness and consciousness to the whole being. 
In her practice she is passionate about using the breath to go deeper in yoga asana, and combines inspiration from different traditions like Ashtanga, Yin yoga and Hatha to teach a balanced and mindful class for every levels and bodies. 
With her background as an artist and photographer she sees yoga and meditation as a tool that everybody can use in their own life, making more space for creativity, clarity and happiness. 
She believes in a holistic yoga lifestyle on a plant based diet, and is a enthusiastic vegan cheese maker and home cook.
– 200 hour YTT Ashtanga Vinyasa, Hiyoga, Norway
– 200 hour YTT Hatha Vinyasa, Pure Flow yoga, Thailand
– 4 x 5-day Vipassana meditation retreat with Christopher Titmuss, Germany
– 7-day new year Vipassana at Gaia House, England
– 3 x 5-day Yoga Retreat, Pure flow yoga, Thailand
– 2 x 5-day Yoga Retreat, Blooming lotus yoga, Thailand
– 12 hour yoga sadhana intensive with Gregor Maelhe, Hiyoga, Norway
Margit Selsjord

Sprout Yoga

5 Tips to Creating a Meaningful Sankalpa

5 Tips to Creating a Meaningful Sankalpa

5 Tips to Creating a Meaningful Sankalpa

by Emma Lowe

What is Sankalpa?

Have you ever been in yoga class and zoned out when invited to set an ‘intention for your practice’, or during Yoga Nidra got the dreads when asked to call upon your sankalpa?

Know that you are not alone. Getting clear about our intentions and coming to know our life’s purpose can take a little time and heart felt thought.

First let’s get clear about what an intention is not – it is not a goal or resolution. 

When I’ve set myself a goal, it has usually been based around something I no longer want in my life and I become overly attached to a particular end result. The slightest of deviance makes you feel like you’ve failed and ultimately to quit what might have been a very good and worthy intention.

In my experience goals are set in the thinking mind, bringing with them layers of conflict between the unconscious mind and the workings of our being.

Our bodies therefore do receive the mentally constructed goal of change but instead energetically receive the internal conflict, which is the opposite of the desired effect and any changes materialising out of sheer will and determination rather than deep rooted and lasting transformation. 

With an intention however, we don’t need to judge whether we win or fail. An intention doesn’t trigger that conflicting voice in our minds.

An intention is a direction which allows us to learn from our detours without judgement, so we don’t quit, we don’t fail – we simply notice we’re face deep in the box of chocolate (self observation without judgement) and pull ourselves away from them (re-choosing our new direction) and get back on track (towards our intention). 

Where I have found radical and lasting transformation is with the use of intention or sankalpa within the practice of Yoga Nidra, which I’ll be sharing on our Thailand Yoga Retreats this summer/fall..

Yoga Nidra is a full body, conscious guided meditation process dating back to the Tantras.

Lying down, usually in savasana, you are guided to physically and energetically relax, withdrawing from the senses and external stimuli and coming to rest as open awareness itself in the bliss layer of being or Anandamaya Kosha. 

Here we work with intention at the very subtlest layers of our being.

In this state intentions can be planted without the presence of the conflicting mental mind and real paradigm shifts can occur.


But how do you actually go about setting an intention or a sankalpa? 


1. Make your intention about you

How do you want to be in the world? 

What is your highest expression of yourself?  


2. Let it resonate within you

You know when you have found the right intention for you as it will feel right.

It will resonate throughout your entire being.

Our intention should create a sense of expansion in the body.


3. Phrase your intention positively & in the present tense

Your intention should be a statement of truth. You may not fully believe it right now and that’s okay but feel it as though it were true and start to cultivate and direct your attention and energy in that direction.

Being cruel and drawing upon “negative” traits and characteristics seldom motivates lasting, positive change in ourselves (or in the world).

By focusing all our energy on the things we don’t like or don’t want creates discord – which is actually the opposite of the desired outcome!

For example rather than “I want to quit smoking” or “I want to be thin” your intention could be “I am healthy and only do things that nourish my body”.

Or rather than “I want to be less anxious” your intention could be “I am at peace”.

Make your intention withdraw energy from where you don’t want to be and instead direct your energy to where you do want to go. 


4. Keep it simple and concise

So you easily can recall it whenever you need it. 

If words aren’t really your thing, perhaps make your intention an image or a sense. As long as it creates the energetic sensation you want; your intention can be truly anything that works for YOU.

However, the best part about working with intentions in Yoga Nidra is that even if you aren’t quite sure of your Sankalpa, the more you practice Yoga Nidra and allow yourself to rest in open awareness  – the more you naturally come into better alignment and harmony.

Often bad habits and emotional patterns and all the things we tend to set intentions to shift naturally melt away, sometimes without you even realising they have been transmuted. 


5. If you’re still drawing a blank, ask yourself what is it that you truly want from this short and precious life?

What are the things that light you up and that make your wild heart sing?

Do more of whatever it is that you love and allow yourself to be more YOU in everything you do

and in doing this, you’ll align with an intention so deep and profound it lies beyond what the body can feel or the mind understand yet all things will fall into place. 


Click here to find some free Yoga Nidra recording from Emma, including one on to help you find your sankalpa.


Founder of Essential Nature Yoga, Irish nomad and Celtic Yogini Emma Lowe facilitates Yoga and Yoga Nidra practices which merge yoga and nature based wisdom. She has also been Communications and Creative Director and assistant facilitator with Somah Journeys since 2018.

With a background in creative and performing arts, Emma engages music, song, folklore and story telling for the purpose of personal and cultural healing in her offerings. She is also a poetic writer, photographer and painter. Since childhood Emma has been engaged in using these mediums for the purpose of peace and reconciliation through cross community projects in Ireland.

Emma’s career in film and television opened her eyes to an holistic way of living and opened her heart to a spiritual path while working on a national religion and ethics series. Later while working on hit HBO series Game of Thrones, Emma found balance and a way to deal with personal grief through mindfulness techniques she learnt from a Buddhist nun. An encounter which eventual led her to the yogic path and to South East Asia. 

Trained in Vinyasa Flow, Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra, Emma teaches intuitively and with a deep understanding of life’s natural cycles and rhythms in order to nourish and inspire her students. 

Emma sees yoga as a vehicle for personal and social change and offers inclusive, safe spaces where everyone and everything is welcome. She is particularly passionate about practices that support women’s health, having trained with Tina Nance in Womb awakening and studying with Yoni Shakti author Uma Dinsmore-Tuli. Emma offers hormone balancing restorative yoga and her popular Yoni Nidra (womb meditations).

Emma spends time working with the native plant medicines of the Amazon basin, including the ‘vine of death’ and has received medicine songs and red road teachings during her time in South America, which inspired her to study and share her own ancestral roots through Celtic spirituality and Celtic Medicine wheel teachings.

Emma Lowe

Essential Nature Yoga

Healing Powers of Music

Healing Powers of Music

The Healing Powers of Music 

by Mel Dobra


Music has the ability to transcend cultural barriers,


Music has the power to soothe and heal emotional wounds.


Music has the power to unite communities, nations and even the world. 


In a society so focused on deadlines, keeping busy and getting ahead, the healing powers of music can often be overlooked, forgotten, and even dismissed as we strive forward on a never ending quest for the urban dream. 


About ten years ago I started playing music, and it was one of the biggest blessings of my life.


Through first hand experience, I quickly became aware, of the benefits that music can have, on ones well being, psyche and soul. 





My Story of how Music helped bring me back to Balance:


When life dealt me my own mental health challenges last year, it was music that played a big part In restoring me to good health.

Its not only the vibrations and the feelings that music elicit, but also the connections to community that music brings, creating shared experiences that we remember. 

I’m sure we can all recall a moment where a beautiful piece of music has been used to unite friends or family in love at a wedding.

I personally have been deeply touched by the music at a friends funeral, allowing us as a community to grieve together, to feel our own sorrow and sadness. 

As an early childhood educator I have researched and witnessed the power that music has in different areas of the education system, especially supporting students with ASDL and other learning difficulties, bringing about both greater educational outcomes, and wellbeing.



Experience it for Yourself


Sound healing, singing, kirtan (or call and response singing), expressing, communicating and sharing are all beautiful ways we can explore the healing powers of music.

Step into this shared experience of music, to heal, create memories, activate your voice and share songs with us in paradise on our upcoming retreat @ Pure Flow Yoga Thailand this July 2019.

And stay tuned by following me on Facebook…I’m about to release my new album Smoke and Flame. 



About Mel Dobra



Mel Dobra is a performing arts teacher, a recording artist, and a workshop facilitator who uses the power of music, and creativity to create spaces where people can find a deeper connection to themselves, the community and the planet, through the shared power of sacred music. 

Follow Mel’s Journey on FB:

Listen & Buy Mel’s Music:


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Love & Inspirations

Somatic Yoga – Our Body is our Brain

Somatic Yoga – Our Body is our Brain

Our Body is Our Brain:

The Basis of Somatic Yoga

by Daphne Chua

What is Somatic Yoga?

The notion of practising yoga might in itself present itself as a scary concept for some. 

I’ve heard many utter… 

 “I’m not flexible enough!” 

“ Are you kidding? I can’t bring my legs behind my head,” 

“ It’s a practice for women” 

“ It’s too boring”

“ I will break before I start” 


Contemporary yoga presents a svelte, slim, flexible, bikini-toned, model-like poster image of what a modern yogi (yogini) should look like.

The power of glossy marketing have certainly encouraged many to take up this form of fitness modality as it is now a modality practiced by over 36 million people*. However, it has also turned away many others who might have the notion that Yoga is an exclusive club for social media savants.


The accessibility of Yoga has often been mistakenly positioned as a practice for:

1. those who are hyper-mobile enough to pick up the practice easily,

2. those we are determined enough to put themselves through the ordeal of contortionism, or

3. those who thick-skinned enough to suffer through the humiliation of being “stiff”. 


The yoga landscape is really diverse now with a gazillion choices on styles and lineages.

It can be overwhelming to even get started! There is Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga, Hot Yoga, HIIT Yoga, Yin Yoga, Barre Yoga, even Beer Yoga, Dog Yoga… and the list goes on…


But what if, just what if, Yoga isn’t about touching your toes or forcing your body into odd shapes or being able to look good in Lululemon gear, to get a glimpse into enlightenment? 

What if it is actually a practice centred around cultivating awareness, using different toolkits, to better connect body and mind? What if it can be fun, accessible, engaging? What if it can offer you insight into how you carry your beliefs through your body so you have more choices? What if it helps you to understand more about your relationships with self and others so you have more confidence, clarity and empathy in your interactions? 


For me personally, Yoga is first and foremost, a somatic practice to arrive into the present moment.

What does that mean?

Soma comes from a Greek word connoting “The Living Body” – pertaining to the consciousness of our living body, experienced and regulated from within. It is an exploration into waking up our innate senses to uncover our mind-body mapping. The practice shines a light on our habitual but mostly unconscious neurological patterning that will show up in how we breath, how we move, how we react to circumstances. These are manifested through pre-dispositions, deep seated patterning, and years of conditioning.


The practice of Somatic Yoga is thus a process of inquiry into how consciousness inhabits the living body. 

Somatic Yoga brings together mindfulness through movement, meditation, breath work, touch, visualisations, sounds, creative expressions etc, to dive deep into our consciousness and our embodied biological processes. Through sensory-motor education we can also improve motor control, coordination, and change learned muscular patterns. This approach to yoga is highly effective in relieving chronic pain, improving bodily function, and recovering from common musculoskeletal conditions.


What are Somatic Principles?

  • It is body centred to improve awareness of the body-mind connection
  • It is a sensory approach (rather than cognitive approach) to learning / unlearning / relearning
  • It is exploratory in nature, based on the premise that the body is shaped by the mind, and that the mind can be reshaped through the body
  • It is focused on the internal experience of the movement rather than on the end result.


A Body-Sensing Approach

  • It is calming & restorative. It regulates our nervous system from the constant Fight – Flight – Freeze mode, to a Rest – Digest – Engage mode.
  • It brings together somatic, mindfulness & movement principles to guide better movements.
  • It is an embodied learning approach based on neuroplasticity (the brain can be rewired, i.e unhealthy, deep conditioning patterns can be shifted_
  • It helps us to develop kinesthetics and spatial intelligence by working through the whole body’s myo-fascial connections.
  • It helps us embody how the various systems (e.g circulatory, digestive, endocrine systems) of the body work in unison to achieve balance and homeostasis. 
  • It is based on how moods & language influence physiology
  • It improves fascia health, immunity, and overall body and mind integrity


So how are we shaped?

  • Via communication – the exchange of information between body and mind, through the nervous system – central, autonomic, enteric (gut).
  • It influences how we breathe, our digestion, body chemistry, and energy levels
  • Our moods & emotions lie at the heart of this communication as it shapes our physical body, i.e stress & anxiety can lead to poor posture, pain, inflammation, dis-eases.
  • How we feel, think and behave is a biological process that is embodied through fascia health and body chemistry
  • Interoception – how we are being informed by our body – is linked to the myofascial system. 


The Benefits of Somatic Yoga

  • Helps to uncover movement patterns / habit (Samskaras) that are built on misalignment, inhibitions, co-contractions, and compensations.
  • Awaken sensory motor amnesia
  • Helps lubricate joints, nourish and hydrates tissues, create ease and increase range of motion
  • Interoception will regulate our nervous system and reduce pain sensitivity.
  • Variety of movement creates better coordination and neuroplasticity. It helps us to adapt better to our environment physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • “Subtle is how the body works. Gross is how the mind works.”  Paying attention to small changes can create profound impact on the way we think, move and relate.
  • Motion is powerful to Emotion. Movement can be used as a gateway to explore emotional regulation


The mind is like the wind & the body is like the sand. If you want to know how the wind is blowing, you can look at the sand.” 

~ Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Founder of Body Mind Centering


* Figures quoted from ~




Daphne will be offering Somatic Yoga & Movement Therapy at Pure Flow Yoga Retreats in gorgeous Koh Phangan from May 27 to June 28, 2019. 

Join her on this journey of self-exploration into uncovering your very own healing through movement, breath-work, hands-on techniques, and creative expressions to unravel our innate intelligence to nurture our body, mind and spirit. 

As a yoga therapist, a movement educator and bodyworker, Daphne has been practising yoga for the last two decades in a multitude of yoga styles & movement disciplines. Her studies include are grounded in philosophies as well as in anatomy and physiology. Some of her biggest inspirations have come from Richard Freeman – who has had a deep impact on the way she sees Yoga as a profound embodiment practice for the body, mind,spirit – as well as Donna Farhi, Tom Myers, and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen (Body Mind

In recent years, she has delved into the study of neuroscience, somatic movement, combined with the holistic framework of Yoga Therapy tools to deepen her knowledge in the connection between mind and body. She uses an inquiry-based, body- sensing approach to bring about greater transformation and healing into the way we relate to ourselves and the environment. She has also recently completed her Graduate Certification in Yoga Therapy.

Daphne is trained in the art of Traditional Thai Yoga Massage, Biodynamic Cranial Sacral Therapy, Chi Nei Tsang (TCM Abdominal Detox Massage), Tai Chi Massage and Reiki, all of which she infuses into the alchemy of her integrated bodywork and evidence-based yoga therapy. Her therapy sessions, classes, workshops, retreats, and trainings are known to focus on breath, mindfulness, and embodiment to create the moment-to-moment balance
in nurturing the body, mind and spirit.

for more info on Daphne, you can visit her website here –

Daphne Chua

Certified Yoga Therapist | Teacher Trainer | Bodyworker | Movement Educator | E-RYT 500 & YACEP Yoga Alliance | GCYT – Yoga Australia & AAYT

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Drishti: Find your Balance

Drishti: Find your Balance

 Drishti: Find your Balance in Life

by Nadia Moon


Find Your Drishti and Balance in Life

The Sankrit word for Yoga is translated in English as “union”. Yoga is indeed the practice that unites body, mind, spirit and beyond. Beyond duality there is yoga, union.

If I look back at my personal yoga journey, I have to confess that the reason why I started practicing yoga in the first place was mainly to keep my body fit.

I was not interested in spirituality and very sceptical about the whole idea of it. I was very much body-only focused – probably also reflecting the society I was living in. I had no awareness of how powerfully this practice would have transformed my entire life very soon.

However my body knew it. The body is very wise and it knew that it was just the beginning, so I kept going.

As I increased balance, strength and flexibility on the mat (through yoga asanas and pranayama) I started to notice those changes off the mat as well, in all aspects of my life.

After 5 years of yoga practice (including meditation) I quit my toxic corporate job, I quit an unhealthy relationship I was stuck in for over 10 years and I started a journey of listening to my soul and following my higher purpose in life.

Yoga has certainly been the tool I needed to break through my conditionings and find balance.

Now I can share with you the beauty of yoga in all its universal benefits.

Everything we learn and master on the mat influences the way we show up off the mat in our everyday life.

Let’s look at one of the qualities we often seek for in our lives: balance, and how the yoga practice can help us achieve it more deeply.



The balance in a yoga asana (a body posture) can be reached by finding our drishti.

Drishti is a sanskrit word for “point of focus”.

We can’t balance in an asana by focusing on the whole wall in front of us. We need to chose a precise point on that wall, stick with it with full awareness and commitment and let go of the rest. That point on the wall is our drishti.

Once you find your drishti, the invitation is to commit to it and to let the breath be deep and smooth.

And every time you fall, honour that.  Honour the commitment you have to get back up again, and again.

Let’s remember that it’s not about how many times we fall, but rather how many times we are willing to rise up once again. Enjoying the process is the real goal.

Likewise in life, to be balanced, we need to develop the ability to chose to focus only on the things that are beneficial to us and let go of that don’t serve us.

Following our dreams, our true desires, our soul purpose in life – that’s our Drishti. It requires determination and practice; it demands to believe fully in our dreams and to drop the resistance or attachment towards what doesn’t serve our purpose. We are capable of the impossible if we only believe in it.

Yoga gives us the tools to find that drishti, that balance on and off the mat.


Practice: Balance your Breath

Beside yoga asanas (body posture) we can practice the principle of balancing with the breath as well.

Set aside 5 – 10 mins now, or longer if you can, to practice this gentle breathing meditation and increase your awareness on balancing:

Find a conformable sitting position or lay down in savasana.

Take few moments to tune in into what balance means to you.

What is the quality of balance you wish to bring in your everyday life?

Breath in your intention with full awareness. Stay here for few moments as you plant the seed of your intention. Water it with your breath.

Then let go of your intention for now, drop any story in your head and shift your mind from whatever is drifted to, to watch the rise and fall of your natural breath. Without changing it, just bring awareness to it for few minutes.

As you inhale you receive energy, as you exhale you give energy. Pay attention to whether your inhale is longer then your exhale or vice versa. Notice if that is also true in your everyday life. Is it probably time for you to receive more? Or to give more?

Then start to bring balance to your breathing. Feeling that the inhale and the exhale become equal length. Counting the breath may help. Breathing in for 5… breathing out for 5… noticing the gap in between each breath. That tiny little pose at the bottom of your inhale and the tiny little pose at the bottom of your exhale.

Continue for few minutes and then release.

What have you noticed?


I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to share and comment,

Enjoy the process!!!

With Love, Nadia


Nadia will be sharing her passion for Yoga on our upcoming Yoga RetreatsThailand @ Pure Flow Yoga, in April 2019.  Learn more about here or on her website @

6 Ways to Nourish your Immune System this Winter

6 Ways to Nourish your Immune System this Winter

6 Ways to Nourish your Immune System

this Winter

by Ellanah Fawcett

For those in the Northern Hemisphere the phase of winter within our yearly cycle is beginning to settle in. With it comes the gift of our annual time to really go inside, reflect on the cycle that has been, bring light and love to our deep inner world and generally get really yummy and cosy.


Sometimes though we can forget that behind the clouds and blankets of cold there is a burning, radiant sun still shining its light into our world; the days can feel heavy and dark, our heart energy turns inwards as we tense and hold our bodies against the cold and our immune system can begin to struggle if we are not cultivating our inner fire and working with the internal sun of our heart.


So here are 6 ways you can tend to your heart fire and nourish your immune system to feel radiant, balanced and filled with vitality this Winter time:


1. Chant Mantra



Mantra is one of the most beautifully, powerful ways to balance our entire body-mind-being. It works so viscerally within our physical body all the way to the subtlest expressions of our self.


When we chant mantra we are inviting our mind to align with the essence of the heart. As this re-alignment and reprogramming gently occurs the immune system gets a huge boost. Our thoughts begin to take on a much more peaceful and loving energy transforming our whole entire energy field, which leaves not much space for any winter lurgy to live and thrive within us.

As little as 15 minutes of chanting a day can have profound effects on your whole being, those around you and the energy of your home; give it a try!


A beautiful mantra to explore this wintertime is the Gayatri…chanting to the Goddess of the Sun and the ancient wisdom of the Vedas.


You can find many recordings online to listen to the pronunciation, a beautiful recording is by Deva Premal & Miten (you can find on Spotify or YouTube).


Om Bhur Bhuvah Suvaha

Tat Savitur Varenyam

Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi

Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat


Really see if you can savour each syllable and invite the essence of peace to be experienced through the mantra, embodying the essence of the mantra; this will permeate your entire being, helping to transform your thoughts, emotions and physical being.


There might even be mantra chanting circles or Kirtan in your local area, have an explore online and see what is near to you so that you can share and connect with others.


2. Embodiment Practices


Dancing fun

Dancing fun


Movement fans the flames of our inner fire. When our outer weather is cold we can balance this by keeping our body-home warm. We can’t control our outer environment but we can create the most nourishing inner environment.


When we are embodied within our self the immune system naturally functions at a higher level. Our awareness expands throughout our body and this awareness is essentially warmth and love; thus creating the conditions for more peace and joy to flourish.


Find a movement practise that brings joy to your heart and warmth to your body, whether it is Yoga Asana, dance, shaking, running, jumping, climbing…if you like to move alone, find a space where you can let your whole self be free or if you like to move with others find a class or group or start one yourself.


Activate the heart, feel it beating as you move, beating warmth and life into every corner of your being.


3. Metta Meditation




Anahata, our heart chakra, is directly linked to our Thymus Gland where T-Blood cells are produced that are an integral part of our immune system. When Anahata is in balance our Thymus is able to work efficiently, creating a healthy immune system for us.


Metta Meditation is one of the most powerful ways to activate and balance our heart chakra; opening the doors to the compassion that is innate within all our hearts and inviting our love to flow to the world around us, our loved ones, those we are struggling with and to ourselves.


You can find a Metta Meditation on our Pure Flow Podcast and plenty on YouTube and Insight Timer.


4. Ayurvedic Golden Milk



In Ayurveda winter time is associated with Vata Dosha (cold and dry), which means to balance this we need to invite warmth into our system. Ayurvedic Golden Milk is a beautiful way of doing this, working with the immune superfood Turmeric.


Turmeric is a magic herb that has been proven to be highly anti-inflammatory for the body, supports healthy liver function, boosts immune system, reduces the risk of cancer, balances hormones, manages arthritis pain and many many other beautiful gifts.


To make this warm, Ojas boosting, turmeric-based drink is lovely and simple:

  • Bring one cup of organic cow, almond or coconut milk to a gentle boil.
  • Add a teaspoon of fresh grated turmeric or turmeric powder, a small amount of ginger, a pinch of black pepper and a teaspoon of coconut oil.
  • Gently stir or whisk
  • Pour into a cup adding honey to sweeten
  • You can also get creative and add other winter warming herbs to this mix such as cinnamon, clove or nutmeg



5. Creative Free Flow (Journalling, Drawing, Crafting…)



The natural essence of energy is to flow. When energy becomes stuck or stagnant (held by a thought form or by not allowing our emotions and bodies to flow and move) it creates the conditions for ‘dis-ease’ to manifest in our physical reality. We can keep the mind and emotional body flowing through some form of creative outlet.


Each morning put a timer on for 5-10 minutes and invite your pen to flow across the pages of your notebook without stopping and without censoring. This may express in the form of words or drawings or paintings.


If you are someone who resonates with sound, then for this time you can explore and allow sound to flow; be curious with how sounds feel in your body, where they come from and which sounds different parts of the body want to express on any given day. Find your outlet and invite in a sense of flow and grace.


6. Making space for rest and relaxation


Our bodies need down time in order to regenerate; this means making sure we are getting an adequate amount of sleep and enough time spent just simply being.


Some favourite ways of gifting these precious spaces of silence and healing are: Yoga Nidra, Meditation, time spent simply being in nature and restorative or yin yoga. These deep states of silence refill our cup so abundantly and invite us home to the peace we seek that’s always available inside.


Create a technology curfew each evening so that you can disconnect to reconnect and set aside an amount of time each day that feels manageable to really gift yourself space to simply be.


When we nourish our heart and really awaken a deeper sense of self-love our body and surroundings naturally come into alignment and vitality. Let us know what your Heart nourishing winter practises are, we love to hear and share!


An adventure loving soul, Ellanah is forever exploring new ways of connecting to our true self and the magic of everyday life. Her sunshine infused classes explore the flowing dance between breath and movement; cultivating greater space, peace, and presence in both body and mind. A nature loving Reiki Master with an eclectic background in performing arts and Anthropology, and a love for all things dance; Ellanah draws from a creative mix of inspiration, always exploring how we can come deeper into awareness and move deeper from love. She is an avid believer that each individual’s yoga mat is an inspiring microcosm for life itself, encouraging us to flow with freedom and compassion both on the mat and out in the world.

Check out Ellanah Yoga on Facebook 

Ellanah Fawcett

Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master, "Life is a Gift, Let it Flow" - Yogi Bhajan

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The Healing Power of Forgiveness

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

by Faith Hill


Forgiveness has always been part of our human society and is featured in multiple historic religious texts but many people do not realise its powerful healing powers for inner peace and personal growth.


When someone wrongs us, they will usually apologise to us. However heartfelt or not, we will accept their apology but we don’t always move on. We hold a grudge or create a grievance and don’t practice true forgiveness.


Forgiveness is a choice


Holding a grudge or creating a grievance – big or small – is not good for our mind and body health. It creates anxiety, stress, emotional pain and even depression.


By choosing to forgive, we open ourselves up to more self love and love for others. Forgiveness frees us from these emotional ailments and allows us to move forward.


It is a process of healing which builds our strength and resilience by helping us to identify negative behaviourial patterns, in turn allowing us to learn and grow.


Be a hero not a victim


More often than not, when we create a grievance or grudge, we put ourselves into a position of victimhood, when in fact if we reframe the situation and forgive, we become the hero instead.


It is important to remember that forgiveness does not condone bad behaviour or excuse intentional hurt such as lying or cheating. You probably won’t forget the experience but you can forgive it; you can let go of the heaviness and pain to feel light and free again.


Why we need to forgive ourselves more


Self forgiveness creates a more loving and positive relationship with yourself and therefore others. It enables the same benefits as forgiving others – releasing stress and anxiety and allowing ourselves to breathe deeply and easily in our learning and growth.


How to forgive yourself


  1. For self forgiveness to be genuine and for you to truly benefit from the process, you have to be ready to forgive. Sometimes we need days, weeks or even months in extreme circumstances to feel ready. There’s no point pretending or rushing into the process.


  1. Firstly, look at what caused your issue; your upset, anger, shame or guilt. Be specific about it; generalising won’t work. It’s like setting a goal; something general is unachievable but something specific is in reach.


  1. Own your mistakes, errors and misjudgments. Recognise when you incorrectly place blame on others for your own actions, for example ‘I said that because she did this’.


  1. Then see what negative story or stories you have created around the issue. Ask yourself do I really want to be carrying this heaviness around with me? Realise how lighter life will be without this story. Know the past is the past and re-focus on the present.


  1. Take your power back. Giving your energy and attention to a grudge or grievance means you have given away your power to the ‘perpetrator’. By transcending the grievance to forgiveness, you regain power over your life and your experiences.


  1. Find a quiet place and do what you need to to feel calm. Say out loud to yourself ‘I forgive you’ or ‘I forgive myself’ ‘it’s okay’. Repeat as many times as you feel necessary to truly feel forgiven. Notice any resistance that may arise and be aware of what messages you are telling yourself to create this resistance.


  1. If someone else is involved in your self grudge and you feel it will cement your self forgiveness, apologise – genuinely – to the person involved. It will aid your healing process. They may not accept your apology but that is their story.


  1. Implement the learnings from each self forgiveness process to improve your future behaviours and reactions. See how it positively enhances your character and existence. Over time, this will become natural.

Faith Hill is an online life coach and NLP practitioner.

Why not take her new 1-hr online course ‘Positivity Made Easy: How To Think & Live Positively? Get the course for just $9.99 when you use the promo code: POSITIVE19

Find Faith’s course here on Udemy,

 Also, friends of Pure Flow Yoga can enjoy a 20% discount on coaching sessions with Faith. In the first instance, book a free 30-minute Strategy Session on Skype (no obligation required) to get to know each other by emailing


Faith Hill

Spark Escapes

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10 Awesome Reasons Why Retreats are a Healing Must!

10 Awesome Reasons Why Retreats are a Healing Must!

10 Awesome Reasons Why Retreats Are a Healing Must!

by Chantal Di Donato

Ever reached that point when everything around you is falling apart and you need a serious break?

Most of us, especially in busy cities with equally busy lives, feel that way! I hit the wall a few times a year, when I know I need to unplug completely – from my surroundings, my phone and even people around me. When we get to that point, most of us would normally say that we need a “vacation.” But is a vacation enough?

I love traveling, it is a true passion, but since I became a yoga teacher, I woke up to a great reality: vacations are not always enough! Of course, it is great fun to get away, visit terrific places around the globe, maybe even chasing the sun, but oftentimes, we select places that have so much to see and do, that by the end of the vacation, we are exhausted and need another break to recuperate from the holiday we just had!

Yoga, meditation and other holistic healing retreats are the answer when a holiday is just not enough. There is something about retreats that is very special and can really create a platform for transformation! How, you ask? Here 10 reasons why your next holiday should be a retreat:



1. It is all about ME time


Holidays surely mean fun, discoveries and adventures, but if you are in need to care for your wellbeing, a retreat is the only place you can get the “ME” time you deserve. The idea of a retreat is to create a safe space where you can nurture your body and soul. The atmosphere is relaxed, everything is taken care of and you really have to do nothing but enjoy the activities, surroundings, food and company (or alone time if you need that).


2. An opportunity to feel present

Retreats are designed to offer a comprehensive escape embedding fun with relaxation. Because the activities, classes, therapies and meals are made for you, you can enjoy being present without needing to plan anything! At most, when you have free time from classes, you can decide if you wish to visit the surroundings, cities nearby or nature, all at your own pace, without any schedule or watch to adhere to.


3. Allowing a break for the digestive system


Most retreats will offer comprehensive meals in the package and generally the idea is to have food that can boost your body’s ability to work at its best and even kick-start a little detoxification plan! You can certainly look for specific dietary requirements (like a juicing retreat) but retreats often include food that is healing and can support good digestion and even the restoration of a healthy gut!


4. Daily routines to calm the mind

Routine in the standard sense can be quite tiring! We see getting up, going to work and going back home as routine too, but it doesn’t make us feel very well. On retreats, the routines created are for health! Routines (like yoga classes in the morning and meditation classes in the evening) can allow the body to feel in tune with the rhythm of the retreat and discover how to calm down knowing that those healing activities can impact your brain and body positively.



5. Meeting like-minded people

On holiday, we may meet a lot of people, but oftentimes the context does not allow for deep connections. We may meet someone on the beach or at a restaurant or bar, but when we spend enough time with someone like we do on retreats, we can really enjoy discovering who they are and connecting deeply. Research shows that it takes a person an average of seven hours to start trusting another. On retreats, you will spend a lot of time with people who, like you, are there to find a way to relax, to discover their inner voice. Therefore, you can share something deeper than a drink with them, and many people return home friends from retreats!



6. Time slows down

A fascinating thing I noticed on all my retreats was how time seemed to slow down. It is quite daunting that we spend our days rushing from one place or task to another and time flies! Retreats allow time to slow down because we are no longer chasing tasks; we are living in the present! That sort of connection allows us not to worry about our watches, but rather feel that we are enjoying what we are doing right “NOW.” It is a pretty powerful state of mind and it affects how we perceive time in every possible way!



7. Personal growth


I have a little anecdote about a group of girls who came to my retreat to Morocco last year. When I went to pick them up at the airport, at their arrival, they seemed distressed and tired, were happy to be there but had a very chaotic energy about them! A week later, when they left from the same airport, their aura was completely transformed. I always wish I had filmed their arrival and departure to show the difference! It looked like they had blossomed and found inner peace!

Being on the retreat, eating live foods and connecting with people around them allowed a lot of fears, frustration and discomfort to leave and allowed space for growth. The retreat had some tears, moments of distress when dealing with personal issues and emotions, but the result was all worth it! This is probably the biggest difference between a vacation and a retreat and why retreats are so powerful! You go there knowing that you want to feel better and, consciously or not, are ready to deal with personal demons and open up the door that will take you to the next level.



8. Human Touch


This one’s another personal favourite when it comes to retreats. I love the idea that someone is there 24/7 to take care of me, to nurture me, and just pamper me and assist all my needs! From yoga classes to massages or coaching sessions, retreats offer so many opportunities to feel seen and heard! Most of us need that, in a world where we seem to be part of a rushing herd and we are dying to stand out! I love feeling unique and retreats are designed to accommodate accordingly!



9. Accommodates all budgets!  

Just like holidays, retreats also accommodate according to our budget. You can select a standard, daily yoga and accommodation retreat up to five stars experiences. You can read feedback from people and see what their experience was and normally the feedbacks are very comprehensive, giving a good idea of how the entire retreat is, from classes to hosts to food.

It is nice to know what to expect and it is nice to know you can tailor your experience so that even if your budget is not big, you can still allow your retreat to give you an amazing time. I personally prefer to save for slightly more comprehensive retreats so that everything I need is taken care of, but I love that there are choices for everyone!


10. You realise retreats are holidays

The beauty of retreats is that they turn out to be the vacation you needed, to begin with! Although some people think all retreats are about drinking clay, keeping quiet and meditate for days, the options available allow so much choice and the opportunity to create the experience you want with so much more! Time to think, staying quiet, enjoying the surroundings and people, as well as the freedom to visit a new place, country and exploring the culture, all come with the knowledge that everything has been taken care of and you can just relax! This is what I call a vacation!



Whether you are a seasoned “retreater” or a newbie, I can ensure that you will not only love the experience but become addicted to it! Retreats have transformed the way I see holidays and although I still enjoy traveling all over, I find that the opportunity to stay in a beautiful place being looked after allows me to heal within and out, feel better about myself and gives me time to make better decisions in life too. A moment to STOP and RESET;  that is truly life changing!

Looking for your next Yoga + Travel + Retreat experience?

Check out Pure Flow Yoga Retreats in Koh Phangan Thailand. Their retreats are awesome: super-affordable, intimate groups, and community-oriented.  The location is beyond beautiful too! The perfect place to find “Me” Time:

Chantal is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, yoga teacher, author, nutrition and diet advisor with NLP, and founder of Live Lean Health and Live Lean TV. She believes medicine is on our plates and she implements both nutrition and lifestyle in her coaching practice. She works with people who seek positive change, physically, spiritually and emotionally, and other clients who want to regain their health and feel their best ever! Chantal is also a contributor at

Chantal Di Donato

Founder, Live Lean Health

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The Art of Meditation

The Art of Meditation

The Art of Meditation

by Kristen Powell

“Deep Centering” was made with sound waves from a guided meditation. I love how the sound waves show the periods of stillness and silence during a meditation. The colours deepening as the mind settles in.

To hear and practice our Morning Meditation, you can visit Pure Flow Yoga on Soundcloud 

Calgarian artist Kristen Powell is known for her vibrant mixed media pieces that incorporate digital media and striking handmade elements. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia. She works as a high school art teacher and creates art on weekends.  For Kristen, music and sound are often connected to important moments and memories. She uses these moments as inspiration to create abstract paintings that include sound waves and symbolic colours. Her pieces resonate with viewers because of our shared experience with music and sound. Kristen aims to make emotional experiences tangible and relatable. She enjoys experimenting with new mediums and seeking to create images that resonate with others.  Resonance is the ability to evoke or suggest images, memories and emotions. Kristen connects to frequencies in life to gather inspiration. She is inspired by music and sound, emotional experiences, the senses, the beauty of nature, her spirituality, vibrant colours, and new materials. Kristen’s preferred medium at the moment is alcohol ink.

Visit Kristin’s website Resonance Art to learn more and view her epic art.

Kristen Powell

Artist, Resonance Art Studio

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